Presidential Campaign Speech

I was listening to Glenn Beck’s radio show yesterday (for some reason, his show is more interesting/entertaining when there is a presidential election coming up… we listened every day almost last election cycle, and then… hardly at all after that…) and he was talking about the New Hampshire primaries. He was fed up with how every candidate says the same thing in their public speeches, and mostly says nothing! So he said, “If that’s all it takes… I think I could run for president!

Click the play button here below to listen to just that clip. Of course, you can get the full shows at his website, (That just seems like the right thing to do, since I’m posting his audio to my blog…) 🙂

Enjoy! I think it’s hilarious 🙂

(The best part is “little Sally Muckenfuch”!) 🙂

Just Lucky, I Guess

Last night we celebrated Ian’s birthday. His birthday falls on Christmas day, so it has been our practice to set up a day in January to celebrate Ian, and nothing else. Well, he wanted to invite our friends the Velasquezes to join us for a night at Chuck E Cheese’s in a town about 35 min to the west of us. Would work out perfect as that is where Mr. V (we call him Uncle Scott) works. I was to bring a cake that I made, and we would play games, eat cake, and celebrate Ian.

Well, the funny thing is…

As we were on our way there, we went through an intersection where the traffic light was out. “Oh my goodness…” All of a sudden, the days events all came together in my head… We had some serious wind (remember? we might get blown up?) and power was out all over the nearby areas – just not ours. The thought hadn’t crossed my mind until just then that…

You guessed it. The only block without power in the entire area we were going to was the block where Chuck E. Cheese’s resides. Nice.

Well, we decided to head back to our friends’ house and eat cake and play games there. Ended up being a fun night, just a huge waste of gas and time I guess. Again… nice.

Next time… call ahead. 🙂

Lesson Learned?

I was observing my three-year-old daughter and her one-year-old sister today as they tried to play together. They were just a few feet in front of me, and truthfully, it was not going well.

Julia, the younger, was taking things from Kirstie, the older, and this was not a welcome action. Kirstie was just whining about it, and then taking matters into her own hand, retrieving what had been taken. Of course, this only exacerbated the situation, so I decided to step in.

“Kirstie,” I said in my most parental, instructional tone of voice, “That is just not going to work. You can’t whine, and you can’t just take the blocks back from her. How would you like it if she did that to you? This is a good chance for you to practice ‘Treat others the way you want to be treated.’ Why don’t you ask her for what you want, instead of just take it?”

She followed my instructions and her younger sister gladly gave up her blocks (which were stolen in the first place…) and everyone was smiling. For about two seconds. That’s when older sister decided to just take some more of what younger sister had. This resulted in very loud, shrill screaming.

Again… not going to fly with Dad.

Since this didn’t seem to be getting through, so I said to the perpetrator Julia, “Julia, why don’t you show Kirstie what it feels like. Take that yellow block on the top of her tower.” Julia was happy to oblige. She reached over and grabbed three blocks from the top of Kirsten’s tower. (She was probably pretty amazed I was letting her do this!)

Once the blocks were safely in Julia’s possession, I asked Kirstie, “Now how do you feel?”

To my surprise, the first response came from Julia who said, “Good!”

Haha! That was too funny. Kind of ruined the moment, and taught the wrong lesson, but… at least we know that when you’re allowed to do whatever you want… it feels good. 🙂

Bad Water

It would seem that our little wind storm a few days back did more than knock down tree limbs, knock out power, and darken a 9-year-old’s birthday plans. I heard through the rumor mill yesterday, and confirmed by public notice today that we have potentially sickening drinking water in our little town here!

(That could explain Jen’s sickness yesterday, I suppose…)

So, this is my public service announcement for the day, I suppose. If you live in (or near?) Palmyra, NY… BOIL THE WATER!

JUST IN CASE YOU WERE WONDERING…. This ended by the end of the next day. So, you don’t have to keep boiling your water anymore… 🙂

Ian the Creator

Ian Campbell - Creator
I think I mentioned something about our oldest son Ian around Christmas as he was busy making gifts for all of his loved ones. I know I mentioned my awesome iMac and iPod that he made for me. (See photo here, I’ll still try and get a full-size photo of it.)

Ian Campbell - CreatorWell, tonight as I was heading upstairs to bed, I noticed not only the awesome iPod that Ian made for me, but also the tool hanger that he had spent several days working on for his most creative craftsman relative, Grandpa Tom. (Unfortunately, Grandpa Tom left his present at our house when Ian had taken it to “his” workshop for a few modifications after first giving Grandpa the gift.)

It just made me smile. Ian has been so creative that way recently. Besides the gifts for me and my dad, Ian has made lots of great things for his siblings. So cute! He, along with his good friend Hannah, made an entire XBox system for his XBox-loving brother, Alex. It’s great! XBox, games, controllers… even a TV! He also hand crafted some “life-size” construction paper dolls for Uncle Scott & Aunt Leah for their anniversary. (Uncle Scott was quite impressed with the tie he is wearing… thinks Ian has a future in clothing design!)

The best part about all of it is that he initiates it. It’s totally from his heart, and from his own hands. I just love it! So cool to see him wanting so much to show his love for family that he labors for hours and even days to make something with, as I said, his own hands. I don’t think I know many nine year olds who initiate that.

I’ll see if I can scrounge up a few of the creations and put a few photos up here so his work can be more widely appreciated. Keep an eye and an ear out for the name Ian Campbell. Could be a world-famous designer some day… 🙂

Flip Flop

I am a late night person. I love it, always have, and don’t really get into the morning thing. Mornings for me start around 9am.

Somewhere near the beginning of the Buffalo Bills Review season I began moving toward a VERY late night schedule. I would stay up till 4 or even 5am at times to finish editing and publishing our show and website on a weekly basis, and that got me to a regular bedtime around 3am. That’s pretty late. And shifted everything on me. Days seemed sorta rushed if I was trying to have any evening with my family after work. We don’t mind it being kind of later, but it’s been later than I like for sure.

So this week, following the final show of the year, I am trying to shift to an earlier schedule. Would like to get back to walking in the morning before I come up to the office. And get started on stuff here by 8:30 or so. We’ll see how it goes. Pretty well this morning. Only 10:30am now, and have made some organizational process that would usually take me till noon. So, that’s good!

Hopefully my bedtime will get back to a more normal 1am or so. We’ll see…

Macworld 2008

It’s that time of year again, the annual Macworld Conference and Expo is going on starting today in San Francisco, CA! For some reason I am not as excited this year as I usually am… maybe just too busy with other stuff. But, I’m sure I’ll be following tomorrow’s keynote presentation by Steve Jobs around my lunchtime and will be at least slightly excited by the new products and services announced.

Rumored this year is a new super slim MacBook. They are calling it the MacBook Air. We’ll see what actually shows up.. there are a lot of rumors supporting something like that though, so I’d say that will be one of them.

Expect a full report back here tomorrow sometime. 🙂

In the meantime, here’s a pretty decent link with rumor “news” if you’re interested.

Ryan Miller Speaks Chinese?

I heard about this a while ago… just saw it today on the Sabres website. Ryan Miller trash talking… in Chinese. 🙂

I heard an interview where the reporters asked him to say it again. It was funny. He said he just said it over and over about 50 times and just can’t forget it now. So he knows one phrase in Chinese. Pretty funny commercial. 🙂


Tecmo Superbowl

Pretty sure I have mentioned here that I am a fan of old video games, and the king of all of those games – at least in the sports genre – is Tecmo Superbowl for the Nintendo NES.

A friend sent me a link to a video today (first one below) and I found the “response” to the first video (second one below). Both are pretty funny (especially if you are a big TSB fan like me…) And, I’m posting them here for my boys to watch. 🙂


Bo Jackson

Christian Okoye

More Thoughts on The Church

In response to my post “Don’t Go To Church?” I received one comment from a good friend via e-mail. He is a great guy, with a great Jesus-like heart for people, and a humble heart like not many I have seen. I am glad to call him my friend. We have very different backgrounds in our respective relationships with God, but the common bond is greater than the differences. I guess I think that’s the greatness of the church. The church is not defined by a set of agreed upon customs and traditions. It’s a group of people from “every tongue and tribe and nation” who are commonly united by the Creator who became one of us so we could become children – and friends – of God. (John 1, Romans 5.)

I responded to his email and thought it might be interesting reading for you as well… it’s rather lengthy, but as a friend of ours says, I thought you might like to read over my shoulder…

(My friend’s email is in the quoted sections. I did replace some specific details with more general stuff.)

I’m not surprised at all about your reasons for not going to church. I understand them based on what I’ve read, but I’ll offer some other things to think about since you asked for comments.

You used the word “show” a few times in your answer. It’s an interesting choice of words because in 30 years of going to Mass I have never once thought of it as a show. I asked my wife and she said the same. It could just be our perspective so I’ll have to check with other family and friends.

Yet, I know I’ve always had the “show” feeling in regard to any service I’ve witnessed at [the various churches/etc you’ve attended]. Obviously these are very different experiences than my norm and I’m not saying it wasn’t great and that I didn’t come away with something. (I have some of [those] sermons engrained in my memory). So I asked myself what the difference was.

Before you give your answer, let me say this… the “show” is actually even more of a show in some ways in more traditional services (Catholic, Episcopal, Orthodox, etc) because of all the formality and ceremony. BUT, the biggest difference (and perhaps the reason you have never considered it a “show”) is the audience. Having worked behind the scenes on many Christian “shows”, I know that at your typical “evangelical” (don’t let [them] know I called them “evangelical”….) 😉 church “show”, the aim is to include – as much as possible – the people who do not know Jesus. So, in effect – intentionally, yet unintentionally – the audience becomes the “seekers”, rather than God, as the “entertainers” presume that it is. Did that make sense? Everyone I know who leads a “show” says that the audience is God, and they mean it, but from knowing the preparation, and what is actually going on, I would say that the audience is indeed the people in the seats, specifically those who are not “believers” (which means varying things to varying churches, but generally there is a consensus among the “show” leaders).

Please continue…

What was missing for me was the holiness, the “sanctity”, of the event…let’s call it. It didn’t feel any different than any other discussion or hanging out I did with the members of [that church]. Yes, I felt close to God when singing or praying to Him during the service, but again, I felt the same when singing or praying to Him on my own at home or with friends. It sounds like this might have been your experience as well. That would certainly make it easier to walk away from the church.

Quick clarification… I(we) did not “walk away from the church”. We are still very much part of the church, and have regular “fellowship” with the church. We share life and we teach and are taught by the church. The problem is… the definitions of church can be different. To us the church is not an organization that stands on its own, it is the people who belong to Jesus. It’s the corporate one-ness – the family – of everyone who follow Jesus. It has local manifestations in groups of two, three, fifteen or fifty – or even 5000 (though that becomes less “local”) … but it does not exist without the people who are the church. In a sense, the organizations/institutions that we call “churches” (with their staff and buildings and services) could exist without any people “attending”. (Obviously not for long, as they are funded by the attendees, but… they could.) The church I am talking about does not have such defining boundaries. (Which is why, I think, Jesus said, “I will build my church and the gates of hell (hades) will not prevail against it.” Hard to defeat something so amorphous.)

Our celebration of Mass is so much more than entertainment-worship. It is a sacrifice, a communion with our Father, atonement for sins, and rededication of our beliefs. Think of that last one for a second. Would church be any more meaningful to you and your family if you, in unison, with the rest of the body of Christ (the church) professed those beliefs every time you went to church? Yes, I’m talking about rote memorization of prayers and professions of faith. They strengthen and edify the group as a whole. Everyone benefits. And it hasn’t hindered my ability to pray out loud “freestyle” or communicate with God one on one. It’s just another tool in my “toolbox” regarding my relationship with God.

I really don’t believe that personally this is something that I connect with, but actually I loved the insight into it that you provided. It does sound more meaningful as you describe it here. For some reason, I am not wired that way. Not just in my relationship with God… I don’t like any sort of ceremony or ritual. We wrote our own wedding vows… and I almost didn’t even want to have a wedding (and we did have a rather “strange” one…) For some reason to me that all feels fake. For me. Not for anyone else.

The group dynamic is an interesting one. I guess I have found that for me, a more strengthening group dynamic involves interaction with that group. I do beleive that Mass is more interactive in some ways than a “seeker” oriented service, but still, the “group” dynamic is not… interactive. Just everyone is doing/saying the same thing. (There is that “peace be with you, and also with you” thing…) 🙂

I agree there is something to be said for finding God anywhere. I’m so thankful that I feel Him walking/communicating with me outside of church as well.

“…Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” Deuteronomy 6:7

Still, there is value in going someplace specifically set aside for worshiping God. Here’s an example…

When Jesus saw moneychangers in the temple. He didn’t say “hey guys, its only a building, we can worship anywhere, lets go down the street to the community center.” No, He chased them out. Scripture says, “His disciples remembered that it was written, ‘Zeal for your house has consumed me.'” He had a passion for the Temple. He called it “my Father’s House”.

There’s a whole lot I could bring to that argument, but I think it’s safe to say that Jesus was not defending the place… but the people (that seemed to be his track record.) And, if indeed it was the place, when he died on the cross and the temple curtain that hid God from the people was torn in two – from the top to the bottom – that pretty symbolically ended the “place” to worship God. Jesus had said earlier in John 4 that “a day is coming when people with neither worship here nor jerusalem” and continued to talk about worshipping in spirit and truth. (Not quite sure what that cryptic language means, but context seems to point to the fact that Jesus was doing away with religion, and the separation between God and man.)

I know of course that Church is more than just a building, but wow, there are just so many distractions to our time, space, and energy these days, it’s refreshing to have a peaceful place to sit quietly among other Christians and reflect, pray, worship, and the like. If left to your own devices, is it possible to hack out enough quality time for yourselves and more importantly your children in regard to eaching/communicating/worshiping?…I know how our house is with two, never mind having four children. Yes, I understand the value of teaching and talking about Christ “on the fly” so to speak. Is that enough for them? What about some structured time? Do you put together a lesson for them every week like they would get if they were in Bible school? I’m a big proponent of balance in most aspects of life, and to me, only doing it one way doesn’t fit my “balance” quota.

While I do agree that there are many distractions, I think in life we have tried to eliminate those. We are not always running to the next thing. Sure there are days, but we have really tried to make our family, and friends, the priority in our life. So no, it doesn’t feel too hectic.

And no, I don’t prepare a lesson plan – maybe Jen does on occasion, for what we call “table time” as home schoolers – but do you really think a weekly lesson is helpful enough? (Not calling you out as much as that sounded…) What we are trying to live is a real life of following Jesus. That means almost everything we talk about includes God in the picture. That means when we see something that reminds us of a story we have read/heard … we tell our kids the story. “Hey kids, that’s like when God said….” I do read the Bible in the mornings with my boys generally, but that is such a small part of the bigger picture of the everyday, real relationship with God picture that they are getting from the rest of life.

So no, I do not believe that they are missing out in anyway. In fact, I’d say it’s more balanced, as it is infused throughout their entire day/week/life, rather than compartmentalized to a weekly time and place.

How do you reconcile the tithing/giving without belonging to a church? I know, the opportunities to help others DO present themselves to you outside the church, but what about those brothers and sisters at the church that need your help? What about your responsibility to take care of “my Father’s House.”

Again… I am of the opinion that God does not reside in a “house built by men” any more (not sure if he ever really did, but he did pretend to for a while…) 🙂 But as for the brothers and sisters that need help, I go back to what I said earlier. We in no way left or pulled out of the “church”. We do not attend weekend services, but we maintain relationships with people around us – and far away from us – who are members (with us) of the church. And actually, many of them attend various different (institutional) churches. Of all different stripes.

So, from all of those relationships, when there is a need and we can help, we do. 🙂 And, you are correct, the opportunities always do present themselves 🙂 (I like to think that is Jesus “building” his church…) 🙂

Finally, ask yourself if the idea of going to church as a show has an impact on why you left. What is it about the show that wasn’t working for you? I find it very interesting that [three of my friends] have left the church to “go it alone”. I’m not at all surprised based on some of the things I’ve read of your disillusionment and the church in the past, but it’s interesting that 3 members of [the same church] that I grew up with came to the same places in their lives. There has to be some coincidence in that. Please note, it doesn’t make me think any less of you as humans or Christians or friends. It’s just interesting.

It is interesting… but it’s not just one “church”. It’s everywhere. I do believe that we have met many people in many denominations, in many types of churches, who are wondering the same things. Who are discovering the same things. A relationship with the real and living God can not be contained in a worship service, or a building, or to certain times and places. And real community with the church (the people, not the institution) happens through sharing life and interacting more than it does attending a service where you sit in rows facing forward. (Isn’t the best time “at church” always before, in between, or after services?)

It does make me want to invite you all to Catholic church however!

That was my favorite line of the whole e-mail. 🙂

Honestly, we are not missing anything. In fact, relationship with God – and even with other believers – is better than ever. There are some awkward moments as the majority of believers still attend weekend worship services, and we do not – and different can be awkward… but on the whole, we are experiencing a more full, everyday reality of life lived with God than we ever have. I believe the same is true for our friends you mentioned, but you should ask them as of course, I can not speak for them.

[insert typical e-mail sign offs here…] 🙂